Tag Archives | meaning of dreams

An Airplane Dream – Rapid Transformation & Change

Katie was a guest on my web series show, Perchance To Dream (on Facebook as Perchance To Dream or at www.perchancetodreamseries.com).  She recently sent me this dream and asked for some input, so I decided to share it with all of you as well.  Here’s what she had to say:

“In last night’s dream, I was in the front area of an airplane full of passenger that had just come into land.  It was night time and for some reason the landing was diverted so we were landing in a field, but it still had a runway on the grass with landing lights along the side.  It was bumpy as we went over tufts of grass and I remember looking out of the cockpit window.  I wasn’t scared but some of the passengers were. The pilot was my sister’s husband who is an airline pilot in waking life.”

Airplane dreams are fairly common.  In order to understand them, it is best to go the use or essence of the symbol itself.  Airplanes take us from one place to another in an extraordinarily short amount of time.  In this way, they relate to sudden shifts in awareness or transformations that completely alter the landscapes of our lives.

As is the case with most dreams that feature airplanes, there is usually some sort of obstacle, such as a crash or monumental delay.  It is the obstacles themselves that reveal the theme of these dreams.  They represent the process of change and transformation that is both rapid and halting: the rapidity is symbolized by the plane and the halting nature is embodied by whatever obstacle is present in the dream.

In the case of Katie’s dream, we have an unexpected landing sight into a field somewhere.  The grassy field is in direct opposition to the metal and concrete mechanizations of an airport.  In this way, perhaps the tufts of grass and the wide open natural space suggests that Katie would rather be restful and in the ease of nature than attend to the business at hand.  This may not be a bad thing or indicate avoidance; after all, this particular field is equipped with landing lights and a runway, suggesting that this alternative landing sight may be in the natural turn of events.

What is most interesting to me is the word “diverted” in her description of the dream.  To divert is to turn aside from an intended destination, but it also has a secondary meaning which relates to seeking pleasure for the purpose of distracting the attention from that which burdens or distresses a person.

That the dreamer is in the cockpit and is calm suggests that there is a great deal of confident choice in this diversion.  The frightened passengers represent various thoughts of fear and confusion in this process.  The real juicy information is to be garnered from the qualities of the brother-in-law, for it is he that is captaining this current choice.  Remember, he is but a symbol of the part of Katie’s personality that is suggesting a momentary diversion to a more natural landscape for the time being.

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I’m dreaming of skeletons!

This weekend is Halloween; the day of the dead.  All Hallows Eve is the moment in our solar cycle where the veil between the visible world and the invisible realms is considered to be the most penetrable.  Since dreams are clearly an inhabitant of the other side of life, I honor this “holiday” with a few dictionary terms that are Halloween-inspired.  Today’s term is Skeleton.  Check back over the next few days for more spooky symbols!!

Skeleton

Universal Landscape:  Hidden structure, old or outdated foundations.

Dreaming Lens:  Is the skeleton complete or fractured?  Is it a medical skeleton that is clean and pristine or is it buried and partially decayed?  Is the skeleton recognizable as having once supported someone known to you?  Does it frighten you or intrigue you?

Personal Focus:  Skeletons support the physical body and are not readily visible to the outside world.  They are the foundation on which everything else is built.  In the dream world, they represent this same underlying structure of our bodies, ourselves and our lives.  A skeleton is the invisible underpinning of any physical, conceptual, emotional or spiritual construct in your waking life.

The skeleton of our lives is the structure of ideas, beliefs and myths around which we superimpose our sense of self.  When you can see the skeleton of something, you have a better idea of what is supporting it or holding it upright.  If you dream of this image, you might be getting a message that something in the structure needs to be examined.

Discovering a skeleton in a closet may suggest that some of your thought structures may be outdated and need to be taken out and contemplated.  If a skeleton is being studied in a laboratory, it may be time to explore the underlying structure of something–ask what’s underneath so you may better discover ways of managing an area of your life.

Consider what context the skeleton appears in the dream and how you respond to it emotionally.  A sense of fear (“shaken to the bones”) means you may fear confronting some underlying structure that you have perhaps taken for granted.  Do you need to reconsider your beliefs about something or someone?  If so, you may dream of a skeleton appearing as a result of such an investigation.  Your familiarity or comfort level with seeing the skeleton will match the insight you are having as the essence of that area of your life is exposed to your inner view.

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Abandonment in dreams.

Yesterday I posted the dictionary term Zoo, the last term in Dream Sight.  Today, I go back from Z to A and share with you the first term in the dictionary, which is Abandonment.
Abandonment
 
Universal Landscape:
  Fears around self-worth.
 
Dreaming Lens:  Who abandons you in your dream?  What are the circumstances around the abandonment?  Are there legitimate reasons for being left?  What is your emotional reaction to being abandoned?  What do you do as a result?  Do you collapse?  Do you take action?  Are you the one doing the abandoning?
 
Personal Focus:  The concept of abandonment is a fear-based illusion.  The feelings that come up when someone has left us are personal and rarely about the one doing the leaving.  The fear of being left alone is primitive in nature and has its roots in infancy.  If the loss resonates deeply enough, the emotional reaction taps into a deep reservoir of historical injuries and we experience it as a painful abandonment. The essence of this experience is connecting to what it feels like to be alone with ourselves in moments of vulnerability.  Thinking that you do not have the ability to face life on your own, especially in moments of adversity, is a falsehood born out of fear.  Overwhelming emotions are often accompanied by irrational thoughts that focus on our weaknesses and invalidate our strengths.

Dreaming of a circumstance in which this is a primary theme, is likely to be compensating for something in your waking life that is triggering thoughts of abandonment, whether consciously or unconsciously.  By processing these feelings in the dream state, we are better prepared to face the world when we wake.  Pay close attention to who is abandoning you as this will factor powerfully into your interpretation.

In a dream, we may be examining ways in which we abandon ourselves.   Even if the dream mirrors a life situation where someone you know is not available to you, use the concept of the character aspect as a mirror.  It may be that part of you is currently inaccessible to your sense of self.  For example, being abandoned by a boss might indicate a lack of inner authority available to handle a difficult situation.

The value of any abandonment, in life or in a dream, is being forced to see how we can survive when stripped of what we perceive as necessary for our existence.  To feel abandoned is to accept a myth that we are not okay without the assistance of others.  A dream may be helping you see where you are not trusting your own instincts and resources by allowing you to suffer an abandonment and find the strength to continue on that journey.

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Computers and torture in my dreams!

A word about judgments.  They are killing our souls.  Whether they get expressed out loud or not, the judgmental thoughts that are routine parts of the ego mind are mind-numbing.  I’m talking about everything from out right hatred (just turn on the news if you want to know what I mean) to idle gossip about others and including those random thoughts and opinions that leap across your mind almost outside of your conscious awareness when your brushing your teeth.

I have decided recently to put my daily spiritual practice to use in a concerted effort to notice my own judgments in an effort to release them on a deeper level.  Boy, was I shocked at what I found.  I consider myself a fairly well-processed individual:  I meditate every day.  I have devoted my life to service.  I am, for the most part, kind and helpful in all my interactions.  And certainly in the world at large, I have a persona that of the Teacher – I have the answer and people assume I am (forgive the hooey-hooey language) “vibrating at a high level.”  The bare, naked truth is, just like most people, I have a lot of judgments and opinions.  And I am SO ready to let them go.

So, of course, I’ve asked my dreams to help.  For two nights, I have petitioned my dreams to give me some information about how judgment is living and breathing in my unconscious and how I can move toward releasing them on a deeper level.  Here is what I have found so far.

Dream number one – the first night:  I dreamed that I was attempting to work on my laptop computer, but it was in a shambles, barely working.  I knew that I needed a new one, but I was reluctant to make the purchase, telling me I couldn’t afford it.  And as long as I hooked into my mother’s computer in the makeshift way I had figured out to do, I could at least function.

The first interpretation that I should give to this dream is to acknowledge how much my computer is a focal point for my life.  On it, I wrote my doctoral dissertation.  On it, I wrote my dream dictionary.  On it, I am writing this blog and connecting with my friends and loved ones.  When I add in the lens of the hold that judgment has on me, I also see that there is a connection to ideas about the world that I got from my mother (that my opinions and a sense of superiority were where my strength lay).  Additionally, I see the cost of clearing out the mess of my current belief system is being too high; something I can not afford.  But really, can I afford NOT to?

Dream number two – last night.  Holy shit, is all I have to say.  So the night before, I learned where my judgmental stand got its first legs and told me that I think the cost for clearing it up is too high, last night’s dream showed me just how high the cost of NOT releasing myself to a deeper level of operating will be.

In the dream, I am tied to a table, stripped half naked and attached to electrodes.  I am being tortured, violently while my inquisitors are asking me questions about how the insurance company that I work for has defrauded it’s customers by charging exorbitant fees to vulnerable people.  I manage to escape, but at great peril and I have to kill off one of my assailants with a power saw, with which I saw him in half.  Once I am liberated from the building, I search in vain for my car, which I eventually find and drive to safety.

CLEARLY, this idea of freeing myself from judgment is a good idea.  My unconscious mind is letting me know that this way of being in the world has in fact been torturing me and is, at the end of the day, a fraud.  Since I spent last night having dinner with a colleague during which we discussed many issues of the day, I believe the dream reflected to me that even well-meaning discussions in which I freely express my opinions about things may look altruistic on the face of it (an insurance company that appears to be helping people get medical care) at the truthful root of it, there is something inauthentic about it (the fraud in the dream) and what is REALLY going on is that I am trying to make myself feel more important and smarter in a deeply disguised reaction to inner feelings of fear and inadequacy (the profit generated by the fraud).

There are two things I am looking forward to in this day:  One is to check in with myself and see how my judgments are operating.  The second is to my dreams tonight!

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What is the Collective Unconscious?

To understand the collective unconscious, we must begin with the personal unconscious.  Most people in the western world have a basic understanding of the parts of our human mind that are hidden, unknown or deeply mysterious.  We call this the unconscious mind.  And while rooted in psychology, the notion that we have an unconscious mind is a part of our day-to-day experience, showing up in the media and pop culture.

We have no way of really knowing that such a thing exists, but its presence is revealed to us through behaviors we can not justify, choices we make that we don’t understand, reactions to events that do not energetically match the event itself or slips of the tongue that embarrass us because they reveal desires we hadn’t planned to expose.  It is considered by many to be a frightening aspect of the human mind.

Beyond the disquieting notion of powerful but hidden forces that lurk below the surface of our thinking, the unconscious is also home to intuition, imagination, creativity and spontaneity.  This vibrant and fascinating realm is also, of course, the home of our dreams.  When seen in this light, it is much easier to make the leap to understanding what the collective unconscious is.

The collective unconscious goes even deeper than the unconscious mind.  It is a realm of experience that exists in all human beings and connects each individual to each other in life and back through history to the beginning of time.  Because it is not something that can be isolated or touched, we only know of its existence through the evidence that reveals a commonality that all human beings share collectively. 

Jung made this discovery through observations during his extensive travels all over the globe. He found that all cultures, no matter where they existed on the planet or how ancient their history, shared vast arrays of similar mythologies, beliefs, artistic expression and much to his surprise, dreams.

What Jung recorded that was so shocking to him was that the native populations that he studied in Africa and Asia were having the exact same dreams as his patients in Switzerland.  Impossibly removed from each other by geography and culture, these third world peoples dreamed routinely of flying, falling, loosing their teeth, being chased and other commonly reported imagery just the same as his well-to-do Caucasian counterparts thousands of miles away.  Granted the natives were being chased by lions as opposed to assailants with guns, but the essential content and theme were the same.

Because of the existence of the collective unconscious, we powerfully connect to symbolic meaning that we may not have any conscious awareness of.  In this way, the importance of accepting the existence of the collective for the modern day dreamer will feature prominently in the process of interpreting dream imagery.

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Do dreams connect to world events?

Our individual experiences in life are always connected to what is happening globally, although it is not always easy to identify how this is happening.  Dreams are one of the ways that we connect to the collective experience.  In fact, the basic foundation of modern dream work is predicated upon the existence of what Jung termed the Collective Unconscious – the realm of thought that is experienced by all human beings in the same way.

Here is a dream that illustrates this concept so well, I wanted to share it.  A client of mine presented a dream in which she was suffering from a severe headache.  In order to have some relief, she rinsed her head with cool water and found that there was black dye in her hair.  She came upon a woman and asked for some help in cleaning off the dye, but the woman replied that she couldn’t get the equipment working properly and would be unable to wash her hair at this time.

On the personal level, this dream is reflecting the dreamer’s current struggles with health issues and depression.  The headache could represent her ongoing negative thoughts, with the black hair dye connecting to the outward expression of these negative thoughts.  In examining this dream, we decided that asking the woman for help was indicative of her desire to turn toward the feminine principle for relief – holistic healing and the mind-body connection as opposed to relying strictly on Western medicine.  The fact that the equipment was not operable was a clear indication that the moment for relief was not yet at hand, which was certainly accurate in terms of her waking-life condition.

The personal dream work satisfied us both and helped my client reach a sense of surrender to her plight that day.  This was no easy task as her level of discomfort was great, but the dream did it’s work and she felt shifted as a result of our conversation. 

However, while we were working on the dream, I was struck by what to me was a very obvious connection between the timing of this dream and a world event that had happened the day before the dream appeared.  As this is one of my most intuitive clients, I didn’t have to wonder whether I should broach the subject; she did it for me and suggested that we look at how her current experience might also be reflecting things going on in the collective.  We had only to turn to news of current events to make the connection.

She had this dream the night after BP installed the cap on the damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico.  There was not yet enough information to know whether this fix was going to work and the measure of efficacy was going to connect directly to how much pressure was going to be exerted on the integrity of the well.  The cap on the well could be symbolically connected to the head.  The pressure buildup beneath the cap could certainly cause a symbolic headache.  The black dye was such an overt symbolism of the impact of spilled oil, we both found the image a bit humorous.  The fact that the equipment was not yet ready to clean off this black dye (spilled oil) was certainly applicable to the hope that the cap would work coupled with the knowledge that the impact of the oil would take a long time to clean up.  There was no doubt for us both; the dream was reflecting both her personal journey and what was happening in the world at that very moment.

Now, not every dream is going to exhibit this connection quite so directly.  However, I share it with you to encourage a more enthusiastic exploration of the Collective Unconscious and how it might be operating in your dream life every day!

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Lysol, nudity and little people: What does my dream mean?

Every once in a while, a friend will call or email me a dream they’ve had.  Sometimes it’s because the dream feels disturbing or important and they want to gain more insight and self awareness by considering it.  And sometimes, it’s just because it’s weird and fun.  This is one of those.

Brent shared this dream: I was assaulted naked by a group of people armed with Lysol cans, covered from head to toe in Lysol then ran all over desperately trying to find someone to wash me off to no avail, as my skin become redder and more irritated. Some how I thought that the midget actor Verne Troyer was the only one who could save me..

And here is how I responded:  Lysol represents the (false) need to protect us from microorganisms by killing them off with poison. It was a product born out of the fear instilled in the zeitgeist when science discovered pathogens that caused disease. Most bacterial and other microorganisms are important parts of our interactive living exchange, but corporate America would say that 1) you are in danger and 2) we can protect you from that danger and 3) Oh, did we mention that our protection is poisonous???

The group represent an old thought paradigm based on fear that there is something wrong with you, especially visible when you are vulnerably exposed (e.g. naked).  Think of the religious background you come from and other “group mentalities” that would view you as diseased or dangerous and in need of cleansing.

You are naked, so you are not only vulnerable, but exposed (loosely connecting the imagery to sexuality and certainly to sensuality). So this judgmental “group” that lives inside you is the fearful notion that you must be thoroughly cleansed so that they will be protected from hidden, invisible dangers that are EVERYWHERE (from head to toe) and sure to be contagious.

Your current sensibility understands that this approach is actually dangerous and irritating, but the damage is already done. The only one who could save you now is Verne – he represents that part of you that is 1) small, but ultimately powerful (like a spiritual truth) and 2) different from the status quo (spiritual thoughts that may separate you from others in a group-think sort of way, but that actually know the truth in ways that group- or race-consciousness does not) and 3) willing to take great risks despite his perceived limitations.

Insight and self awareness is available in all our dreams – even when we think they’re just weird and fun.

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Does this dream make me look fat?

“What does my dream mean” and “Does this dream mean anything?” are the questions I am frequently asked.  Here is an example from my own life that describes how a dream that seems at first to be meaningless is actually helping me have a better experience in life.

As I’ve concentrated on my writing and other work, I’ve neglected my body a bit.  I’m still very healthy and in relatively good shape, but part of my spiritual practice definitely connects with the care of my physicality both with regard to nutrition and exercise.  This is the last area of true resistance in my life right now; it has been very difficult for me to find a level of discipline in any kind of a daily exercise routine in the past two years.

That has just begun to change of late and I have been incorporating rigorous exercise back into my life for the past week.  Those first few weeks are both the most difficult and the most crucial.  As of the moment that I’m writing this, I still seem to be motivated, having gone to the gym this morning.  I look to my dreams to tell me whether I am fully ready to step into this commitment, or if I’m just kidding myself and that another period of sloth is just around the corner.

In asking my dreams to give me some clarity on this issue, I awoke this morning a little confused.  I could not remember any specific dream imagery, but I was filled with a rather strange notion that was definitely a residual from wherever I had spent my nocturnal wanderings.  And what I woke up with was this overwhelming need to make sure I was getting enough potassium.

The sense of this was very, very specific.  I needed potassium.  Now, my diet is pretty good; well balanced and generally healthy.  I am certainly getting enough potassium.  So what could this mean on a symbolic level?  I turned to Wikipedia for some help and looked up potassium.

It turns out that potassium is very connected to brain cells communicating with each other, fluid balance in the cells themselves and the proper working of muscle cells and their ability to contract and release effectively.  If this doesn’t connect to exercise, I’ll eat my hat.  Or my banana.  Which brings me to another post-dream experience.

It is a known fact that jump-starting your metabolism by ingesting some sort of food as soon as you wake up is one of the best ways to tell your body to burn calories.  I generally have a bad habit of not eating for several hours into my day, which really limits achieving my weight loss goals.  When I glanced at the contents of my refrigerator while getting the creamer for my morning coffee, I saw that last banana sitting on the shelf.  I thought, “banana.”  Then, “potassium.”  Then I put it together that if I ate the banana and then went to the gym, I’d not only be getting the exercise I need, but my body would be all the more prepared to work at its most effective.

Soon, I’ll have the body of my dreams!

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Why do I always dream my husband is cheating on me?

Why do I always dream my husband is cheating on me?  It is one of the most frequently asked questions and is usually accompanied by a bit of anxiety on the behalf of the one asking.  And it’s not just the husbands out there; plenty of wives are cheating in dream land as well.

Having an affair is the ultimate betrayal and the cause of great fear amongst all sorts of couples.  It is natural to have some measure of insecurity within a relationship and the idea that your partner might step out on you is this fear taken to its furthest manifestation.  Your primary relationship may or may not be subject to an actual affair, but in the language of symbolism, this dream has little to do with infidelity and a lot to do with getting your needs met.

Asking for what you need in a relationship is tough work.  Wishing that you partner could read your mind is common – in fact many people expect that their partners can and should be able to know what to do in any given situation and may punish each other when this does not occur.  A dream of cheating may be pointing to a moment in your primary relationship when you may not feel like your needs are being met.

Below is an excerpt from Dream Sight; the term Infidelity/Affair.

Infidelity/Affair:  A circuitous route to meeting needs.  Avoidance.

There is no intimacy need that cannot be met in a primary relationship.  Going outside of a marriage or partnership for sex or affection is a way of meeting a primal need by a roundabout way.  Simultaneously, there is an avoidance of some underlying problem that is not being addressed.  Therefore this image represents both a circuitous route to connection and avoidance of confrontation.

If you discover an infidelity in a dream, you may want to consider areas in your life where you are avoiding taking care of your self.  If you are engaged in an affair, you might need to examine your life circumstances for signs of being manipulative or indirect in getting your needs met.  As getting caught is always reflective of an unconscious desire to effect a change, being discovered as being unfaithful could indicate a desire to shift some area of your life.

Always be willing to look at issues of responsibility when this dream image appears: where in your life are you not allowing yourself to be accountable for your actions?  If the dream involves details of constructing an affair, you may want to examine how genuine you are being in terms of expressing and manifesting your desires in life, both relationally and otherwise.  Where in your life are you being authentic?  How might you be betraying your own needs?

It is safe to assume that this image in a dream indicates a theme of intimacy issues in your waking life, no matter what the marital state of the dreamer.  This may have literal implications if you are actually involved in an affair or believe your partner to be.

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